When four-year-old Rustam Botanenko complained to his parents of stomach pains on December 2, 2015, no one suspected the devastating diagnosis that would later follow. But after a week of antibiotics, worsening symptoms, and no sleep, it became distressingly clear to everyone that something was very wrong.
A follow-up MRI exam revealed the painful picture: young Rustam had an eleven-centimeter tumor lodged in his abdomen. The word “cancer” is a chilling thought, but this is the term that raced through the minds of Rustam’s family as they imagined the shaky future that lay ahead of them.
An Outstretched Hand
Talk Fusion Associate Aleksandr Plokhih of Arkhangelsk, Russia is doing his part to make a positive difference in Rustam Botanenko’s life. Aleksandr deeply relates to the struggle Rustam faces next, and he understands what it means to overcome life’s obstacles. Born with infantile cerebral palsy, Aleksandr was once unable to speak or even sit up on his own. Despite these barriers however, Aleksandr never let his condition deter him. Through his perseverance, Aleksandr is now the boss of his own prosperous Talk Fusion business, and he is using his story to inspire others, like Rustam, to find their strength.
Using Talk Fusion’s flagship Video Email product, Aleksandr is confident in the power of the group and in how we can make a difference for the Botanenko family. With a customized Video Email template, Aleksandr has already started the call for donations, asking us all to: “do our best to save this small life!”
A Culture of Giving
This isn’t the first time Aleksandr has used Video Email to raise awareness and help other families in need. “Giving back” is central to Talk Fusion’s message – a message that inspires our Associates to never stop questioning: “how can I help?”
In 2015, Aleksandr jumped at the opportunity to raise money for Rinat and Natalya of St. Petersburg, Russia, whose son Misha was in desperate need of a doctor in Moscow. At the time, Misha’s muscular dystrophy was growing worse with each day, and his family was struggling to raise the required funds. By using a personalized Video Email to promote awareness, Aleksandr and his fellow Talk Fusion Associates created a bridge, reaching countless strangers and raising enough funds to save the child’s life.
Aleksandr believes this same influential power can be used again – bringing newfound security and hope to the Botanenko family.
The Day of Rustam’s Diagnosis
On the day of Rustam’s diagnosis, his family knew they had to remain optimistic and act quickly. Considering the high mortality rate of children in Kazakhstan with similar conditions, Rustam’s parents immediately contacted the leading pediatric oncology centers in Germany, Israel, and South Korea and asked for help. Finally, after what seemed like a never-ending wait, Severance Hospital in Seoul, South Korea reached out on December 19, 2015, agreeing to accommodate Rustam in his fight for survival.
Rustam and his family know the power of resolve, and they’re not giving up. Upon arriving in Seoul, Rustam was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma; he’s been wading through the medical hurdles ever since. This young fighter has already undergone eight courses of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the tumor, surgery to remove his kidney, and a number of stem cell transplants.
The tumor is completely gone now but Rustam still requires further treatment to remove the metastases that have developed in his bone marrow. He is preparing for his most difficult chemotherapy treatment yet, and his family is asking for help.
Getting Involved and Giving Back
Rustam’s medical treatments are expected to cost around $470,000. Though his family has raised a significant sum of money, a remaining $185,000 in fees continues to loom over them.
If you’d like to make a difference in Rustam’s life and bring a much-needed smile to his family’s face, share Aleksandr’s Video Email and donate on Rustam’s PayPal page now. By spreading awareness and coming together as a global community, we can be certain that Rustam has all the resources he needs to fight strong.
And now, it is up to us.